Researchers around the world have been experimenting with brain-computer interfaces long before Elon Musk decided to merge your brain with AI. It’s almost possible today to mentally control exoskeletons and even browse Netflix. But, what about those amazing musicians and singers who no longer can sing or play instruments because of stroke or other motor impairment? Well, there might be a solution for them too. Neurologists at the University of Washington have developed a device that lets anyone create music using their mind.
Dubbed as Encephalophone, the device has been created using the existing technology of electroencephalography (EEG) – an interface that measures brain signals. It works using a brain cap, which turns brain signals into musical notes and plays them on a paired-up synthesizer. The Encephalophone analyzes two independent types of brain signals; either with the visual cortex, or those associated with thinking about movements.
How this revolutionary device will work on the disabled that’s in the future. To check if this technology works or not, the test was done with 15 healthy participants. None of them had any prior training but were shown capable of using the instrument to recreate music. Their experiment on this device has been published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Keeping the musical mind alive
“I am a musician and neurologist, and I’ve seen many patients who played music prior to their stroke or other motor impairment, who can no longer play an instrument or sing,” says Thomas Deuel, first author of the report and a neurologist at Swedish Medical Center and a neuroscientist at the University of Washington.“I thought it would be great to use a brain-computer instrument to enable patients to play music again without requiring movement.”
Though the device is currently being tested by some healthy, probably non-musical people, it will no longer be a fun device for them once polished. Instead, researchers are hoping to use this device to help patients with brain-stroke, paralysis or other motor-neuron disabilities.